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Pigs get stuck into pipes

Published: 6 August 2021

Last Updated: 9 August 2021

Water Mains Cleaning

Pigs get a bad rap when it comes to cleanliness but they’re exactly what’s needed by Napier to help clean 480km of water pipes.

From now until October foam swabs called pigs will be sent flying through pipes to give them a thorough clean. The ten-week process will see almost all the pipes in Napier scrubbed clean without the use of chemicals. The project will stop promptly at Labour Weekend as water use after that date will be restricted ahead of the summer season.

Over 300 swabs will be used by the Napier depot team to clean the pipes, a process that happens every year. Councillor Richard McGrath works closely with the Napier City Council Depot Team and says water mains cleaning is an important way to maintain Napier’s pipe network.

“Getting clean water into households is a priority for us and we’ve got to look after our system to make sure we can do that,” McGrath explains. “Our pigs scrub off the biofilm that clings to the inside of the pipes. It’s organic and harmless but pretty grotty so it’s got to go.”

When their neighbourhood is being cleaned out by the pigs households may experience some discoloured water when water is stirred up, and some temporary loss of water supply. Affected homes are given notice of their pipes being cleaned ahead of the team visiting their street through radio stations: Newstalk ZB, The Hits, Gold and Coast. A letter is also delivered to each affected home. Pigging takes place across Napier from Tuesday to Friday until October.

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